Alabama’s 1992 song “I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)” figures prominently in the first episode of the new Hulu original series “The Dropout,” illustrating the insatiable drive of its lead character, disgraced former Silicon Valley CEO Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried). The tune could just as easily apply to the show’s quick journey to the screen, though, from its 2019 origins as an ABC News podcast helmed by journalist Rebecca Jarvis, who chronicled the sordid true tale in almost real-time as Holmes faced charges after being indicted for fraud the year prior.
Liz Meriwether, of “New Girl” fame, is behind the eight-episode limited series and its fictionalized retelling of the breakneck rise and catastrophic fall of the Stanford dropout who conned her way into becoming the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire via her biotech company, Theranos, and its game-changing blood-testing device. Dubbed “The Edison,” Holmes purported the machine could perform more than 200 medical analyses on a single drop of a patient’s blood, thereby promising to revolutionize the medical industry. The only problem? The apparatus didn’t actually work. Holmes and her partner/boyfriend, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani (Naveen Andrews), were eventually arrested for perpetrating the scam and defrauding Theranos investors out of millions of dollars. While the latter’s trial is just getting underway, Elizabeth’s ended in late 2021. The discredited CEO was found guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy and is currently awaiting sentencing.
“The Dropout,” which airs each Thursday through April 7, is a largely truthful account of the stranger-than-fiction story, though the show’s locations are proving just as conniving as Holmes herself! Set in such far-flung locales as Beijing, Houston and San Francisco, the series was filmed in its entirety in the Los Angeles area, with the production team pulling the wool over audiences’ eyes by pegging such spots as The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino to pose as mainland China and UCLA in Westwood to portray Stanford University.
A famous Glendale pad was even selected to stand in for a Bay Area-area property on the show. Known as the Schaffer Residence in real life, the mid-century showpiece was designed by master architect John Lautner and is largely considered one of his finest works.